It was good to spend some time away but this week the clock and clouds have been working against me. My focus has been on writing a paper and I was looking forward to break at Kyneton Saturday morning but there was rain. Normally that does not discourage me from pulling a camera out but there was no light either. It was dark, flat, dull lighting and I think I was feeling the same way mentally after so much writing and reading.
Disappointed, I came home and continued working with an image I made after my last visit to Kyneton a few weeks ago. Like a lot of my images, I consider it a work in progress as I try different ways to break a subject down. This is what I have right now.
You can find this building in the Botanic Gardens. It appears to have been an old stockyard building or shearing shed that must have been relocated and partially restored. I made this in the early morning with the light behind me but the building is surrounded by tall trees so it was in semi shade. The contrast range was extreme so I decided to do a five-stop, bracketed exposure to create a high dynamic range composite. Ironically, this would not have been a problem on dull, rainy day like Saturday.
I do initial processing in Photomatix, then make final changes in Lightroom. There are a lot of decision points along the way. With black and white there is a choice about when to drop colour. You can opt to do this in Photomatix but I prefer to bring colour images into Lightroom for more precise control of tones.
While I think this result is okay, there are some more things I can do to pull out detail in the shadow and to reign in the highlights. I used a graduated filter in Lightroom to darken the trees to the top left and middle of the frame but using a physical graduated neutral density filter on the lens would help more. The other thing I want to try next time is to place a cordless remote flash set on low power behind one of the posts to put some more light under the roof without being too obvious. These measures should reduce the overall contrast and hopefully I will get the opportunity to try them next time.
In fact this subject lends itself to a range of different approaches and I hope to eventually work through all of them. It will work as a subject for light painting. I want to see what it looks like on a foggy morning or later in the day during summer. It has a lot of potential for further exploration.
The rain started to ease up Saturday afternoon and I took a quick trip outside to the garden after I spotted some droplets on leaves of the plants. I may end up cropping this image to the bottom left of the frame as that has a lot more interest. I put this image up on 500px and it has been getting a really good response.
So this post has been a bit of a ramble but the point is this, you can make images in poor weather provided there is some light to work with, even if that means that sometimes you have to supply that light yourself.